Food award winners all sweet and sour

From gelato to fermented foods, a wide range was on the podium at the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.

A hand-made gelato, sauerkraut, a 55-day aged ribeye steak and an organic vegetable farm that helps patients recover from mental illness were among the winners at this year’s Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.

Award winners spanned the scale from large meat companies to tiny artisan producers with offerings from the sweet to the savoury to claim a plethora of category wins.

Alliance’s premium Pure South brand shared the title for Paddock Champion with Matangi Angus Beef, with Pure South’s 55-day aged ribeye alongside Matangi’s bavette flank steak. A less common cut, it was described by judges as a fantastic barbecue cut with standout mouth feel and a clean taste.

New Zealanders’ growing love affair with gelato was confirmed with two producers claiming the dairy champion award. Matakana-made Gelato Factory by Charlie’s lemon gelato and Island Gelato’s rich chocolate flavour jointly claimed the trophy.

Longtime food writer Lauraine Jacobs headed up the 25-judge panel in assessing the products and said it was pleasing to see a place in the awards for major food processors and tiny operators.

“After eight years we are continuing to see new products emerge and producers have even more imagination and show more innovation in presentation and taste as they develop new food ideas.

“There’s always a danger new food ideas can be over the top, but this year there was plenty to stimulate the palate without making really good natural food too overspiced and processed,” she said.

The Sustainability Award went to Hamlin Road Farm near Ardmore, Auckland.

The organic, commercial vegetable grower also operates as a mental health and addiction rehabilitation service. The link between good nutrition and mental health is a key facet of the business’s philosophy, along with growing high-quality vegetables.

Growing consumer interest in fermented foods was also recognised in awarding the Emerging Business Award to North Canterbury business Wild Child Ferments. Olivia Johnson produces sauerkrauts and kimchi, having started her business on her husband’s family farm in Greta Valley.

The popular public vote chose the Lindsay Farm Dairy from Hawke’s Bay as Favourite Food Producer. The Bio Grow certified farm provides milk directly to consumers.

The Hawke’s Bay region also claimed top award for NZ’s Favourite Farmers Market going to the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market, open every Sunday morning in the Waikoko Gardens.


First published by Farmers Weekly.


See all 2024 Outstanding Food Producer Award Winners